A country that is all the ways you choose to live

Saturday is quote day!  Last week, I blogged about all the things there are to find out about up here and in the world in general.  Inspired by some severe patriotism and nationalism after being wrapped up in last night’s Olympic opening ceremonies (I was like a child in a candy store – they were fabulous!) I decided to pull a quote from Shane Koyczan’s ‘We are More’ performed last night. I highly encourage you to read the full poem.  It was challenging to choose just one quote.

As a brief disclaimer, if you are one of those people I have lost because I’m talking about the Olympics, and you are boycotting it, I fully and truly respect your decision.  There are lot of imperfect things about the Olympics in general, and the Olympics in Vancouver has brought that especially close to home.  There is a lot I disagree with, but something about the national anthem, the red and white, and the joy of being an athlete that I just can’t say no to.

a country that is all the ways you choose to live

a land that can give you variety

because we are choices

we are millions upon millions of voices shouting

” keep exploring… we are more”

First off, well done Shane Koyczan.  Its easy to get caught up in Canada’s perfect little image of multiculturalism and the best place to live and such, but Koyczan managed to avoid  doing it in a way that disregards our imperfections – of which there are many.  Now, he didn’t mention anything specifically – like our lovely Prime Minister’s choice to prorouge Parliament, our terrible, terrible record on Aboriginal, Inuit and Metis issues, the fact that we still export asbestos worldwide, the fact that gay men can’t save lives by donating blood or organs. our continued lack of a Mental Health Strategy or Housing Strategy on a national level, or the myriad of other negative things that are happening in Canada.

But, in so many ways, Canada is all the ways you choose to live – obviously your income level plays a part in the choices you get to make – but, we do a lot to make life in the North a possible -although expensive- choice.  Individuals have a lot of freedom to express their thoughts and opinions, practice their religion, participate in their culture, drive stupidly huge SUVs, speak their language, access medical care.

Its possible to spend your whole life trying to understand this huge and beautiful country we live in.  We are a land of variety – as Koyczan says, “we are the colours of Chinatown and the coffee of Little Italy”.  We “dream so big that there are those / who would call our ambition an industry / because we are more than sticky maple syrup and clean snow”.

We have a lot to do before we really are a country that is all the ways you choose to live – because in a lot of situations choice is a privilege paid for by being Rich, White and Straight – but, we still have to give credit where credit is due.

Nope, we are not perfect.  Believing we are is trouble.  But for a huge country with not so many people, we sure do have a lot of things to celebrate.

Happy Olympics!


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